One of the most talked-about whiskey releases of 2017 is getting a second release this season, and you’re going to want to do everything you can to get a bottle. Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Four Grain Bourbon Whiskey (yeah, it’s a long one) made a lot of noise last year. It impressed us when we reviewed it here, and at the end of the year it was crowned the 2018 World Whiskey of the Year by Jim Murray in his annual Whisky Bible.
What’s so special about this stuff? It checks every box for a crowd-pleaser and an overnight sensation: low supply levels, limited edition, revered brand from the Buffalo Trace portfolio. It’s 13-year old bourbon made with four grains.
Typically, bourbon will be made with 50-plus percent corn (legally required), malted barley, and a third ingredient, usually rye or wheat. This is where distillers can distinguish their bourbon: Rye gives it earthy, spicy, flavorful character that you feel in every corner of your mouth and all the way down your throat (Four Roses and Buffalo Trace are good examples). Wheat can soften the whiskey and add flavor without all that noise, leaving it much more mellow (think Maker’s Mark or Pappy Van Winkle).
If the balance is off, it can mix together into indistinguishable flavors, making the whole tasting experience sort of muddy. Four Grain is basically the perfect balancing act of the two: honey and caramel notes but with a subtle and subdued spice only towards the end. Like we said: It’s sensational.
A 13-year-old bourbon in limited supply from a prestigious distillery is already going to be a pain in the ass to track down, of course. The good news isn’t really here—you’re just going to have to fight your way through the crowds once you locate it, and you’ll also be lucky to pay the $70 retail price. But here’s something to keep your spirits up: During a recent visit to the distillery, they confirmed to us that there will be regular releases of Four Grain in the future. Supplies may be limited, but they’ll keep coming. So if you don’t find it this year, maybe we’ll have a shot in 12 months.